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Chancellor visits flood-stricken regions in southwest Germany

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Kleinblittersdorf, Germany, which was hit by flooding, Saturday, May 18, 2024.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Kleinblittersdorf, Germany, which was hit by flooding, Saturday, May 18, 2024. Copyright Harald Tittel/(c) Copyright 2024, dpa (www.dpa.de). Alle Rechte vorbehalten
Copyright Harald Tittel/(c) Copyright 2024, dpa (www.dpa.de). Alle Rechte vorbehalten
By Kristina HarazimEuronews with AP
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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz toured flooded regions in the southwest, where rivers have burst their banks and caused flash floods and landslides after heavy rainfall.

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Scholz cancelled his attendance at a European Parliament election campaign in the state of Saarland, bordered by France and Luxembourg, to show solidarity with the residents of Kleinblittersdorf who have been impacted by the floods.

He walked through the village with the regional governnor, Anke Rehlinger, and spoke with local residents and emergency services personnel who have responded to thousands of requests for help.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz meets the emergency services personnel who were deployed to help with the flooding in Saarbruecken, Germany, Saturday, May 18, 2024.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz meets the emergency services personnel who were deployed to help with the flooding in Saarbruecken, Germany, Saturday, May 18, 2024.Helmut Fricke/(c) Copyright 2024, dpa (www.dpa.de). Alle Rechte vorbehalten

Several buildings had to be evacuated as houses and cellars were flooded. Cars were partially submerged and streets filled with water. The city set up alternative accommodation in schools and established a hotline for those affected.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left and Minister President Anke Rehlinger speak to local residents as they visit Kleinblittersdorf, Germany, Saturday, May 18, 2024.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left and Minister President Anke Rehlinger speak to local residents as they visit Kleinblittersdorf, Germany, Saturday, May 18, 2024.Harald Tittel/(c) Copyright 2024, dpa (www.dpa.de). Alle Rechte vorbehalten

Scholz assured the state of the federal government's solidarity.

''Unfortunately, it is not the first time that we have to manage a big natural disaster and therefore we will of course look at what needs to be done,'' he said.

Saarland has already implemented first steps to release financial support, the German news agency dpa reported.

The weather service has lifted the weather alert for Germany as rain is expected to ease slowly.

Saarland authorities said such flash flooding only happens every 20 to 50 years.

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